Paper, Please

Books Are Better TeeSince opening the doors of the Bluestocking Salon in March, we’ve shared bookish thoughts, literary news items, and more with you, our fellow bibliophiles. You may have noticed, however, our studied avoidance of the elephant in the room, the one with a flat screen and a charging cord. But since we can only dance the waltz around them for so long, today we’re going to talk about e-readers.

If you own an e-reader and enjoy reading on it, please know we’re not scolding you for it. We appreciate the argument that the story is what matters, not the delivery system. Once upon a time, epic tales were spoken, not read (e.g. Beowulf, the Odyssey, the Ramayana), and today audio books are a popular choice for time-crunched readers. We hear that e-readers are handy for some travelers, who now can carry multiple books on long trips without having to pack an extra suitcase. These devices also serve the visually impaired, who otherwise might lose access to books. And considering the whopping cost of printed textbooks, e-books appear to be a boon for cash-strapped college students.

But although we acknowledge that e-readers serve some useful functions, at the end of the day, we’re paper people. We love, adore, devour old-fashioned books. We love buying them, holding them, and sharing them with other readers. We’re partial to curling up with them under a blanket on a cold winter’s day or relaxing on a sunny beach with them. And not just because we’re booksellers. Rather, we’re booksellers because of our obsession with paper-and-ink books. They offer so much more than just the words they contain. 

So today we’re sharing Bas Bleu’s Top 10 Reasons to Choose Paper Over Plastic:

1. When we accidentally spill wine on them or leave them out in the rain, our paper books don’t freak out. Sure, the pages curl a bit in annoyance, but they soldier on.

2. Physical books are so easy to lend. One of our reviewers has been circulating a single novel among her friends since 2012. Of course, “easy to lend” often is tempered by “difficult to retrieve”…

3. That wonderful smell! The scents of ink, paper, leather, and glue mingle with dust and time to create an eau de livre more seductive than a bottle of Chanel No. 5.

book lamp4. Spare books are handy for propping up broken furniture and too-short table lamps.

5. Marginalia. Not only are your own notes valuable to you, they can be read by generations of readers to come. Your witty insights and brilliant observations will be admired long after you’re gone!

6. Paper-book readers are so in fashion

7. Paper books never shatter, lose their charge, or require software updates. And we can’t even talk about how humiliated we were that time a toddler had to teach us how to work an iPad.

8. At the risk of sounding a tad paranoid, we sleep easier knowing that once we’ve bought that book, it’s ours, all ours, and the publishers/booksellers/government will only get it back by prying it from our cold, dead hands! (Well, maybe we’re more than just a tad paranoid.)

9. Books become heirlooms. How many of us treasure a favorite childhood book because of our memories of reading it with our parents and grandparents? And how many of us cherish the opportunity to turn around and share those beloved tomes with our children and grandchildren?

10. We learn a lot about others when we can see what they’re reading. Whether we’re perusing a neighbor’s bookshelves during a dinner party or eyeing that cutie reading on the subway, book choices tell us a lot about someone’s potential as a friend or significant other. Reading facilitates social connections, and diversity of literary tastes among friends, family, and dates makes for lively conversation—or potentially explosive arguments!

Did we leave out anything? What are your favorite perks of paper books?

4 thoughts on “Paper, Please

  1. I agree! Still have a hard time with marginalia, though, growing up with the idea of treasuring and caring for books whose meaning included “don’t write in books”!

  2. I AGREE 100% ++++ Thank you so much. Just received first catalog yesterday. Excited to see many neat things. I am a book lover!! A “real” book, that is!!

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